[QODLink]
Middle East

Israel 'to build' new outposts in Jerusalem

NGO says Israel is preparing to build more than 1,000 new settler homes in mainly-Arab areas of the holy city.

Last Modified: 29 May 2013 23:35
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Terrestrial Jerusalem, a non-governmental group, said that the plans were approved last year [Reuters]

Israel is preparing to build more than 1,000 new settler homes in east Jerusalem as the United States strives to revive dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, according to an non-governmental organisation.

Danny Seidemann, director of Jerusalem settlement watchdog Terrestrial Jerusalem, said on Wednesday that contracts for 300 homes in the northeastern settlement of Ramot were signed and another 797 plots were to be offered for sale in the southern Jerusalem settlement of Gilo, near the city of Jerusalem.

Both are in mainly-Arab areas of the holy city.

Seidemann said that the plans were approved last year before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quietly ordered a settlement freeze, but the latest steps in their implementation were leaked to media by the office of Uri Ariel, the Housing and Construction Minister.

"This does not mean that the freeze is over, it does mean that Netanyahu's minister of construction is trying to achieve that," Seidemann said.

Force of hand

Seidemann said that Ariel was seeking to force Netanyahu into either giving a green-light or halting the work.

Although the freeze was never officially confirmed, NGOs said that Netanyahu did not want to be seen as hampering US Secretary of State John Kerry's initiative to breathe fresh life into moribund peace efforts.

"This is an attempt to force Netanyahu's hand," he said.

The news came less than a week after Kerry's latest round of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on his fourth visit to the region since he took office in February.

On Sunday, he unveiled a $4bn US plan to boost the Palestinian economy but an adviser to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the leadership would "not offer political concessions in exchange for economic benefits."

Abbas himself called on Israel to "end the occupation of our lands", evacuate settlements and free Palestinian prisoners."

The Palestinian leadership wants a total freeze on Israeli settlement construction before it resumes peace talks with Israel, which have been stalled for almost three years.

327

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
join our mailing list